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#writing advice
screnwriter · a day ago
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Hi, I don't know if you've done this before but can you do a enemies to lovers with fake dating prompts? Thanks :)
enemies to lovers — fake dating prompts
“ you fucking hate me. “ “ hate is a very strong word. “
“ would you just do me this one favor? “
“ maybe this will be a chance for us to see that we're not so different after all. “
“ if you want to kiss me, all you have to do is ask. no need to orchestra this whole ordeal just because you're too afraid to admit what you want. “
“ it's one weekend. “ [beat] “ is the sight of my face really that repulsive? “
“ you're too much of a wimp to be honest about what you want. “
“ don't flatter yourself. you're simply nothing more than a means to an end. “
“ what better way to piss off my parents than to date the one person in this world they would actually consider driving over? “
“ with your mouth on mine, there's less bullshit coming out of it. so i guess there's that. “
“ don't fucking speak, or you'll ruin everything. just sit there and look pretty, and maybe hold my hand. “
“ don't be such a grump. you should be honored. “
“ considering how you treated me last night — you're lucky i didn't kill you, so unless you want that to happen, why don't you shut up, and do this one thing for me? “
“ remember that time you stabbed me, left me to die? yeah, you owe me one. “
“ clearly, you're desperate. otherwise you wouldn't be here. “
“ i can't stand the sound of your voice — let alone the thought of kissing you. “
“ if i give you ten dollars, will you do it? “ “ i think that's an entirely different service, but sure. “
“ just kiss me. “
“ you? protective? boyfriend? “
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void-fireworks · 2 days ago
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HEY
To all you authors out there, here’s a little advice that will help you so much. 
Do not write for other people. Yes, this sounds like classic writing advice, but I’m going to go deeper into it. Because I realized today what that actually means.
When you write for other people, you find yourself constantly being anxious over how they’ll perceive it. As you’re writing you’ll be looking at it like “there’s no way anyone will ever like this.” You’ll point out every flaw and that just makes writing a burden. You’ll get writer’s block or quit writing altogether, because it’s just not fun anymore.
So instead of doing that, just...turn off that part of your brain that points out the mistakes and tells you people won’t like it. Save that for later. It might be hard to do this, but you’ve got to understand that you’re telling this story for yourself, and that at this point it doesn’t matter if it sucks or not. That’s for your other drafts. 
Enjoy the writing. Smile when you make some cheesy joke, even if you know you’ll have to delete it later. Write out the parts that you like about the story, whether or not they matter to the plot.
Writing for other people has its place, but that’s for after you’ve written for yourself. 
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Healthy vs Unhealthy Comparing
Comparing yourself to another writer in a healthy way: gleaning inspiration, seeing ways to improve your writing, getting excited by the way they write and wanting to try out pieces of how they write in your own writing to see if it works with your style
Comparing yourself to another writer in an unhealthy way: putting your writing down, saying “I will never be this good,” getting discouraged, making yourself want to quit writing.
I understand it can be difficult not to fall under the unhealthy comparisons when you see a writer who just seems so far beyond you but remember: everyone’s been in your position at some point. Hell, for all you know, that person is looking at your writing, being like “damn I wish I could write dialogue flawlessly like them.”
Everyone has their vices with writing; everyone has that thing they do imperfectly, that brings them discouragement from time to time. That is just part of being an artist.
However, don’t let it stop you from your passion. Keep writing. Keep improving. You can and will be better, if you keep going.
Happy writing!
-H
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chaoschaoswriting · a day ago
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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Romance
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Lust is about looks, love is about connection - romantic love, and romance, is somewhere in the middle. Creating this unique and potent experience as a writer is one of the most challenging parts of the craft (at least I think so). There are a million writing blogs, magazines, and gurus out there eager to tell you how to write better romance, but less information on how people most often go wrong.
The truth is that it's rarely down to writing technique. With the screams of legions of plummy literary types in my ear, I'll gently remind you that some of the most technically brilliant authors don't make a living from their books. That doesn't take away from their talent, of course, it's a symptom of one thing; they're writing for writers, most popular, widely loved authors write for readers. The very best, for example, Terry Pratchett and Barbara Kingsolver, do a bit of both. I'm boring you with this for a reason; the biggest mistake romance authors (or arguably any author) can make is to prioritize prose over storytelling.
The Importance of a (Good) Story
With the exception of very few, very esoteric, books which have gained cult acclaim, the majority of the novels you see in libraries and shops have a story. Storytelling is the heart of fiction writing, and in the romance genre, it is doubly important because the relationship is the story.
When writing horror, atmospheric descriptions may smooth some rough edges, in thrillers the plot is often an excuse for heart-racing action. In most novels, the story is the skeleton on which the book hangs - it's hard to have a firefight or a haunted night without the shadow of a story, after all. If the writing falls short, the plot will seem bare and lifeless, but the structural integrity should keep it upright... should.
In romance novels, the story is more of an exoskeleton, holding the writing, the imagery, the ideas, together. Take away the story and all you have is a pile of love-coloured goo - romance and lust are so integral to our lives that setting one up doesn't need the same rigmarole as setting up, for example, a zombie apocalypse. That's why each of these mistakes, at their heart, is a mistake that compromises the structural integrity, or even the presence, of the story. Read More on Vocal
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tolkien-fantasy · a day ago
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Advice for your local Fantasy Knight
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⚔️ Never snub your Gambeson. Gambeson is padded fabric armor that’s usually worn underneath chainmail and plate, so it provides an extra layer of protection. It’s essentially like hitting a pillow. Plus it separates your skin from the chainmail which is uncomfortable and tends to snag. Many people like to snub the Gambeson but those people are idiots. Wear your padded fabrics.
🛡️ When riding, always have your toes pointing up. Otherwise you’ll fall off way easier.
🐎 When your Horse is going uphill, lean forward. And when it’s going downhill, lean back.
⚔️ Since quivers are incredibly impractical on horseback, traditional archers instead carried their excess arrows between their fingers. This also allowed for quicker draw time between shooting.
🛡️ When doing archery, always lift the arrow a little higher than you’d think. Since your eye is not perfectly at-level with your arrow, you need to lift it up to shoot so it will hit your target better. Your eye is playing tricks on you, so aim high.
🐎 Shortbows are ideal for hunting and horseback archery, while Longbows are better for stationary defense on castle walls. If you’re defending a fort, use a Longbow. If you’re a Ranger, go for the Shortbow.
⚔️ Always have some Yarrow on you. It’s a natural antiseptic and was known throughout history for its healing properties. Great in a pinch. Just make sure not to mistake it with Poison Hemlock because the two unfortunately look quite similar. Poison Hemlock has reddish or purple splotches on its stem and is much bigger than Yarrow (8 to 10 feet tall) so that should give it away.
🛡️ There’s two types of Chainmail - Buttermail and Riveted. Never buy Buttermail. It gets that name because cutting through it is that easy. Instead go for the Riveted Chainmail, which has its rings bolted together. It’s way sturdier and harder to cut or pierce.
🐎 Never snub your Helmet. Ever. I’m sorry to tell you this, but an orc won’t care how good your hair looks. It will just grab it and snap your neck.
⚔️ Don’t snub your shield either and make sure you know how to properly use it. Don’t be like Boromir, kids. We all know what happened there.
🛡️ Always have Faulds on to protect your hips. Hanging off the faulds are your tassets to protect your upper thighs.
🐎 For the love of Eru, wear appropriate foot gear. If I have to watch another blockbuster lady knight run into battle in wedged heels I’ll throw a hammer through the TV screen.
⚔️ Strength Training and healthy eating. Armor and Weaponry is heavy, y’all.
🛡️ Always listen to a witch’s advice. There’s a thousand folktales with this exact premise and people who don’t listen never turn out well.
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writingquestionsanswered · 10 hours ago
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Hi there! I am writing about a villain who is trying to mind-control Person A in a group of friends to kill their leader... the problem is the motivation. At first, I thought to make it "entertainment" but realized that it was too weak. Next, I thought to make it "jealousy" of their bonds but it doesn't seem to make enough sense. "Revenge" seems too cliche. Could you give me some villain motivations, please? It's because these two parties are closer to strangers than anything else, so it's got me stuck. Thank you so much for your help. :)
Figuring Out Villain's Motivation (and Goal)
Let's Start with the Point of a Story
Stories are about someone who wants something trying to get that thing. That someone is the protagonist. However, if nothing stood in their way as they tried to reach their goal, that would make for a pretty boring story. That's why we have antagonists, and their entire purpose is to be in opposition with the protagonist--to throw obstacles into their path in an effort to keep them from reaching their goal. So, it's not just protagonists that need a goal, antagonists need one, too.
Protagonist and Antagonist Goals Go Hand-in-Hand
Since the antagonist is trying to keep the protagonist from reaching their goal, it only makes sense that the antagonist's goal should essentially be the opposite of what the protagonist wants. If the protagonist wants to overthrow their nation's evil dictatorship (like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games trilogy), we can expect the antagonist (the evil dictator, obviously) goal will be to stay in power by preventing a rebellion.
It's Sort of a "Chicken or the Egg" Thing
Which comes first? The protagonist's goal or the antagonist's goal? It depends, actually. In the case of overthrowing an evil dictatorship, typically something would incite the protagonist (hello, inciting incident!) to want to do that... something acts as a "last straw" and pushes the protagonist on the path that ends with the goal of toppling the dictatorship. So, in this case, the antagonist's goal is reactive... they're reacting to the protagonist's attempt to start a rebellion.
Sometimes, though, the antagonist strikes first. The protagonist is just sitting at home in their quiet village, watching the rain, and in rides an army of trolls, who raids the village on behalf of the scorned prince who is amassing resources in order to overthrow his father's throne. In that case, the antagonist's goal came first, and the protagonist's goal is reactive. They form the goal of stopping the scorned prince and his troll army, and of course the antagonist will work to oppose whatever they attempt in order to make that happen.
A Word About Monsters and Antagonistic Forces
And, one last thing: antagonists are not always people. They can be raging monsters, like Jaws or a zombie horde. They don't even have to be sentient beings... they can be a force like disease or a natural disaster. In that case, obviously, there's not going to be a traditional motivation and goal. Obviously a tornado doesn't have a motivation or goal, just a scientific reason why it happens. So in those cases, you're really looking more at what the "end result" of the antagonistic force is and why it's happening.
Story Goals vs Endgame Goals
If you're writing a standalone story, the story goal and the endgame goal are one and the same. However, there can be smaller goals within the story that stack up to the endgame goal.
If you're writing a series, each book will have its own story goal that stacks up toward the endgame goal. The endgame goal will be the ultimate goal at the end of the final book.
Figuring Out Your Antagonist's Goal via Their Motivation
Ultimately, you need to figure out what the antagonist wants in life. What are they trying to accomplish that would put them in opposition with your protagonist and/or their group?
It helps to first figure out their motivation...
1. Financial Greed (they want to be filthy, stinking rich.) 2. Material Greed (they want to own ALL the things.) 3. Power Hungry (they want to be super powerful.) 4. Desire to Possess a Thing (person, place, object, skill…) 5. Extreme Hatred (excessive hate for someone/something.) 6. Envy/Competitiveness (trying to outdo someone else.) 7. Desire to Control (to protect someone/something) 8. Desire for Notoriety/Legacy (they want to be remembered.) 9. Entitlement (they’re believe something is their destiny.) 10. Working to Impress (someone/group) 11. Misguided Belief (”magic is bad, kill all magical beings.”) 12. Fulfilling Ideology (religious/political ideology.) 13. Obedience to Higher Power (when there's a bigger bad) 14. Hero of Own Story (benevolent but misguided)
These are only some, but it's a good list to get you started. Once you know what's driving them, you can start to think about what specific goal would help them get that thing. If they want to be filthy rich, their goal might be to break into the king's coffers. If they want to be super powerful, their goal might be to overthrow the throne then conquer neighboring kingdoms, becoming an emperor. If their desire is to posses an object, such as a magical ring your protagonist has in their possession, their goal might be to trick your protagonist into going on a journey and then getting the ring away from them. If they are motivated to protect their kingdom, and they believe magic is bad, their goal might be to quash all magic in the kingdom in a misguided effort to protect the people.
Taking a Look at Anon's Story in Particular
Anon's antagonist's goal is to kill the leader of the protagonist's group. So, Anon has to think about what this character is after in life that this would be something that would help their goal. In this case, we might first look at the protagonist's group. Groups, particularly groups with leaders, don't exist for no reason. They usually have a purpose. It could be something totally passive like a book club, or it could be a proactive group, like one that is planning a rebellion.
If the antagonist wants to kill the group's leader, what is this group doing that conflicts with what the antagonist wants out of life?
If the group is a passive one, like a book club or a sewing circle, this is probably not going to be an antagonist with a big motivation and goal like taking over the world. It would probably be something smaller like the group leader has something they want (maybe a super rare, super valuable edition of a famous book), or maybe they're having an affair with the leader's spouse and wants to get them out of the way and take over their life.
If the group is an active one, like a group that is planning a rebellion, this could be anything from trying to stop them from succeeding by killing the leader, to killing the leader in order to take control of the group and use the group to their advantage.
I hope that helps you figure things out. You can have a look at my Antagonists master list of posts for further help. ♥
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nanowrimo · a day ago
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The Art of Writing During Tumultuous Times
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As an Emergency Room physician of 40+ years, D.A. Mucci is no stranger to difficult, even life-threatening, situations. During the pandemic, he turned to writing fantasy, and wrote his debut novel, Ignatius and the Swords of Nostaw. Today, he shares some tips that helped him develop his writing process during particularly terrible times: 
Counselors often tell their patients to manage their stress and difficult situations by journaling their thoughts and ideas. While I’ve been faced with plenty of stress in my life as an emergency room physician, journaling was not part of what helped me relax. I did find that telling a story worked. The creative process helped alleviate my stress, consciously and subconsciously.
I turned to writing during the pandemic based on the phenomenal suggestion from my wife, Jeanne. She thought it would be a great way of channeling my nervous energy and concerns of dealing with a disease that killed quickly and indiscriminately. My wife knew that when I tell stories to family members and friends, I have a good time and feel in my element. She thought, correctly, that would be a great way of unwinding.
I’ve been asked how I focused during such tumultuous times, and how I was able to break away from the physical and emotional trauma of dealing with so many critical patients and death at one time. In the emergency room, we have to learn, quickly, how to compartmentalize our thoughts and decisions. There are times I could be taking care of as many as 12-14 patients at one time — easily, during covid, 4-5 critically ill patients. You have to train your mind to shift from patient to patient instantly, thus putting the last patient behind you, while having the ability to pull them back to the forefront in an instant. I used that skill to write, placing the stress of the daily shift into another room, another place in my mind. It was put away for the moment. Thus, I was able to focus on the story, the characters, and allow my mind to fantasize, wander, and relax.
When writing, I try to use typical conventions for the process, but I also don’t hold myself bound to strict writing norms. I like to tell a story, even if it goes a bit outside of how editors say a story should be told.
For years I’ve been asked by my friends and family in social settings to tell them about my latest and greatest unusual stories in the emergency room. So, I’ve been a storyteller for decades. I love embellishing a real-life story for the entertainment factor, making it even more interesting and fun. People who know me know that as I tell a story about the emergency room, and most anything in my life, there’s always the “Dave embellishment factor” that comes into play. I suppose this is why I chose to write fantasy and dream up an entire new world in the Kingdom of Skye.
And it has taken me a while to learn how to turn storytelling into the art of creating a manuscript. I’ve been fortunate to have lots of coaching along the way from editors and taking courses about writing as an author. This homework is all part of what I needed to do to become better at crafting not only a story but specifically a manuscript.
My advice to those who want to write and aren’t sure where to start is simple: Just go ahead and start. That is the only way to learn the craft. And don’t expect the first story or few to be perfect. The first two books I wrote were held back due to lack of knowledge of how to write a good story and trying to stay within the guidelines of literary rules. Those rules stifled my story, my style and limited my creativity. 
My book Ignatius and The Swords of Nostaw breaks a few rules. Some editors early on in the process didn’t want me to tell the story from multiple points of view. But if done properly, the reader will get a fuller picture and appreciate the depth of storytelling. I so enjoy hearing from readers how they were able to get inside the different characters and get to know and understand each better. So, remember to have fun writing, it’s ok to color outside of the lines a little, and enjoy connecting with readers who will be entertained by your unique story.
Being an Emergency Room physician for close to forty years, D.A. Mucci found that the pandemic brought forth new horrors in the ER. Writing his debut fantasy novel became an enjoyable escape for him from all that was happening in the real world. Ignatius and the Swords of Nostaw was featured on Good Morning America and is the start of a new series that introduces readers to the uncharted reaches of the Kingdom of Skye with fantastical creatures, daring escapades, and witty one-liners. Learn more about the author and Iggy's adventures at DAMucci.com.
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daily-fantasy-ideas · 2 days ago
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CW: Ghosts, slight discussion of ableism
What if a character had their soul ripped out by accident as a kid and as a result they've just had to live and adapt to not having anything there without it being much of a big deal.
Perhaps a few people could get real dramatic when learning about it saying stuff like "Oooh that's so sad you poor thing, I don't know how I could keep on going if that happened to me" in a pitying and slightly condescending tone (y'know a bit like how some people react to learning about other's disabilities), just for the character being condescended at to call them weird and annoying before walking away.
Also the whole lack of a soul thing could allow for the character to captures ghosts and spirits inside the void where the soul would be letting them use the captured entities powers and abilities as their own.
Oh and maybe you could also have a scene of your characters talking with someone who's just had their soul rip out and who's rightfully a bit stressed and traumatised about that experience. Only for the character who hasn't had a soul for most of their life to say "eh you'll get used to it" before receiving shocked and confused expressions and exasperations from those who don't know about said absence of a soul.
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recurring-polynya · 2 days ago
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I read A Lot of fanfiction, and I am generally very forgiving of non-professional writing skills and imperfect grammar, but there is one thing that sort of bugs me and I think a lot of novice writers struggle with: name substitution.
There is probably a more formal word for this, (antonomasia and pronomination both seem close, but no cigar), but what I am talking about is when you get tired of using a character’s name and using a pronoun would be ambiguous, so you refer to them as “the brunette.”
It is not a coincidence that I chose to use hair color, because if you spend any time at all reading fanfiction, you will have seen this construction. I read anime fanfiction, as it happens, so I get the additional delight of seeing characters referred to as “the bluette” or the “pinkette.” I am not even going to complain about that, to be honest, I find it kind of charming. 
What I am going to complain about is that referring to characters by hair color hurts the flow of your writing, makes the narration feel unnatural, and also, it’s very confusing, especially when you have multiple characters in the scene with similarly colored hair, and the reader may not be sure who you mean by “the redhead.”
This is actually super easy to fix, all you need to do is think about it in the right way. 
I nearly always write in the a third-person limited POV (where you get one characters thoughts and feelings, but from outside); this advice will also work for first or second person, and I think you can figure it out if you’re doing third person omniscient, but assume that you have one central POV character.
Imagine yourself in the head of that character, referring to someone around you. When would you ever identify someone solely by their hair color? 
The answer is not never! For example, if you central character is a waitress at a diner, and she’s serving three customers whose names she doesn’t know, she might very well refer to them as “the blond”, or other very noticeable physical characteristics, like “the tall man” or "the pretty woman.” This is very impersonal, and that’s on purpose! At some point in your reading career, you have probably read a scene where a character is set upon by thugs and even gives them nicknames like Chinbeard or Big Ears, not necessarily out loud, but just so the author has something to refer to them by. It’s the same idea! You can even use this to sneakily describe characters on their first appearance-- for now, he’s the hawk-nosed bald man, but by chapter six, he’s going to be your major antagonist.
Conversely, your character is at a holiday dinner and her brother Toddbert passes her a dessert. Would she refer to him as “the brunet”? No! She would refer to him as her brother. Relationships are the easiest and most natural substitutes, not physical features. Think about the way you tell stories about your everyday life, and the people you talk about: My boss. My doctor. My best friend. My mom. My next door neighbor.
You may have a character in your story who is a doctor or a professor or some other professional title, and it’s probably very tempting to use their title as a substitute. You can--if that’s your character’s primary relationship to them. If my characters are married, I will say “he smiled at his husband” NOT “he smiled at the doctor,” because it would feel really unnatural if you had a friend who referred to his husband as “the doctor.” (Unless your friend is weird, and if that’s the case, go for it, because your writing is going to convey that weirdness!)
Anyway, just a li’l writing tip from me to you, I love you all, keep writing!
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Writing Tip #272
No matter what type of book you write, you will need to do research. Talk to the type of people you want to write. Do it respectfully and know that there are things to be learned from others. If you’ve never worked in a bank but are writing about a banker, you can google some things, but the details that will make it believable are best discovered by actually talking to people.
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scriptwriters-network · 2 days ago
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There is only one plot - things are not what they seem.
Jim Thompson
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writingadvice365 · a day ago
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Hello! May I have some advice?
There is a story I want to write, but I'm very new to it and haven't really developed skill. Should I go ahead and write and post about this story? Its very dear to me and I want to do the best for it. So, should I hold off till I have more experience?
I would still write just not post any of it.
YES WRITE IT!!!!!!!!!!
The best thing you can do for your story is to write it.
If you want to write the story, write the story! Don't wait "until you are good enough" because then you will probably keep putting it off and never actually write it. As a writer, you will constantly be improving and developing your writing skills and even after you have been writing for many years, you will still be learning and growing.
And while your first draft might not seem like the perfect amazing story that you have in your head (which can be discouraging), remember that your first draft is a baby and you need to treat it and yourself gently.
And know that once you write the story out, you can always put it aside and revisit it later after you have developed more as a writer. But write it first.
Hope this helps! =)
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kiingocreative · a day ago
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Ready to edit, format, or publish your book? We offer editing and coaching services! Send a DM or go to https://kiingo.co/services
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*Brief mentions of physical and emotional abuse in a fiction work*
The Power of Purpose and Expectations
Have you noticed that when we, as humans, gather in groups there is always a purpose? A birthday or a graduation, a concert or a work engagement. Sometimes we gather for more subtle reasons that revolve around more basic human needs like to eat food, connect with others, or even to exercise together. But, usually there is a purpose, a reason why we’re gathering. This purpose often brings meaning to the gathering. It allows those who are joining to know roughly what to expect when they are there, and what is expected of them. In various ways different societies and cultures have generalized expectations for specific gatherings. For example, in Canada, it is expected that we wear black to funerals. This idea of coming together to honour and mourn a life lost, all in black, is a sign of respect. It also creates a sense of unity and togetherness, as it acts as a reminder that each person is there for the very same reason.
Expectations in gatherings don’t always lead guests to feeling united though, sometimes guests may feel segregated… depending on the details of course. Maybe the expectations are too steep, or are simply not clear.
An important thing to note, is that as humans we don’t just gather for happy, we also gather for sad, for anger and sometimes for evil. If history has shown us anything, it’s that purpose, good or bad, can make people feel connected and empowered.
Often in reality we are given ample notice on the details of a gathering that we’ve been invited to. However, in fiction, allowing the characters notice about a gathering and its purpose isn’t always necessary. Sometimes these things can catch a character off guard, and, depending on the story, this can be thrilling, exciting or traumatic.
In darker works gatherings are often ominous, gruesome and unpredictable. However, even though it may be so, there is always purpose.
So, is Purpose the True Foundation of Any Gathering?
Priya Parker says that gathering is: “The conscious bringing together of people for a reason, shaping the way we feel, the way we think and the way we make sense of the world.”
Take The Handmaid’s Tale. Without giving too much away, there is a scene where the handmaid’s gather for a ceremony called “the salvaging”, as requested by Aunt Lydia. The details of the gathering are not disclosed to the handmaids until they arrive. Basically, a man had done something unthinkable and so the handmaids are given permission to do whatever they want to him. Now the handmaid’s themselves had previously been stripped of their independence, taken from their children and partners, and regularly physically and emotionally abused. But these realizations (depending on the person) either take a back seat for a brief moment while at the gathering, or they become charged as the central reason for their participation. The reason being, the foundation of the gathering had purpose. To harm the man in front of them. To seek revenge. Without a doubt this gathering played a role in shaping the feelings, thoughts and perspectives of the handmaid’s both during and afterwards.
Another good example of gathering with purpose and what it looks like in fiction: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(now might be a good time to come clean about my wide range of taste in TV and film…) There is a scene when the animals of the forest stumble upon Snow White and soon after, lead her to a tiny house for shelter, which ends up belonging to the dwarfs. They gather inside the house to help Snow White clean dishes and dust for cobwebs. This gathering was not planned, however, the purpose to help Snow White and to tidy the cabin brings them together, uniting them. It also changes their thoughts, feelings and the way they view the world going forward. The animals, now trust human beings, and Snow White now feels hopeful and no longer lonely.
In order to plan gatherings that hold weight in our stories, they must have a strong foundation… and that foundation is purpose.
Location, Location, Location!
“Meaningful connection is bodies in a room.” –Priya Parker
In a room, in a cemetery, in a basement that screams The Blairwitch Project–it’s not about the where in general, but the where can be extremely significant for your story.
In my debut novel Age of The Almek, there are several different points of gathering throughout the book. The most crucial being The Circle, where there are regular ceremonies called “birthing ceremonies” and “re-birthing ceremonies”. These gatherings are what I’m going to call for the heck of it, “multi-layer gatherings”. They are organized by The Masters of the society, regulated by the Defenders and witnessed and participated in by the civilians. These gatherings are tied in with the laws and societal beliefs, so every Almek is obligated to attend. Back to the where though: The Circle is in fact a large circle of sand smack in the middle of the two colonies and surrounded by seating for the citizens and their Masters, and beyond that is a fence to keep it all contained. The significance of The Circle lies in A) what happens there and why B) it is the only time the two colonies (who are quite unhappy with one another) unite together as one.
Who Gathers here?
Priya Parker defines a gathering as: “Anytime three or more people come together for a purpose.”
I know it won’t come as a shock when I say that who holds the gathering could be just as important as the purpose of it. Is the host a noble character trying to make change? Are they the rulers of the society or town? Are they the villain? Perhaps they’re both the ruler and the villain? The person or people hosting the gathering will set the tone for the gathering. It will likely be the thing you decide on before you decide on the purpose.
As for who attends the gathering, that will be another important aspect to consider. How many people are at the gathering? Is anyone excluded? Why or why not? Chances are pretty good that the answer to who attends (and who doesn’t) will be tied in with your society and its laws.
Mantras
The Oxford Dictionary states that mantra means: “(originally in Hinduism, and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid in concentration in meditation.” It also says: “A statement or slogan repeated frequently.”
The Happy Birthday song is without a doubt the mantra of many birthday parties in Canada. The song Whistle While You Work is the mantra for Snow White and her forest friends during their cleaning sesh. And, if you go to a work conference or a talk, I’d be willing to bet they often have mantras too. Maybe it’s only squeezed in a few times, but it’s there, and it holds power. If a specific series of words or sounds in repetition can put our individual minds in a state of ease and concentration, what does it do for the group as a whole?
In Age of The Almekthere are many mantras, (it is a newly, yet primitively, developed civilization, so I had a lot of fun playing around with the mantras). During the gatherings at The Circle that I mentioned above, there is snapping fingers in unison and a reciting of the closing scripture upon completion of a ceremony where all must say: “One with the earth.” The Orator, Zev of Favoured Astor, has specific mantras he says on repeat throughout the ceremonies as well. But these things aren’t necessarily obviously mantras to a reader or to the characters. They may be overlooked as merely parts of the process (which may actually be where their force lies) but they are powerful enough to put the characters and readers into the headspace that they need to be in in order to understand the full experience. Some inclusions are merely shadows (or flicks of light, depending on your story) that only add to the overall picture and experience. Mantras, or chants, can create a unified experience by pulling each individual out of their own thoughts. Thereby the group as a whole meets on the same plane simultaneously (give or take the odd rebel) and becomes engrossed in (and complacent, if not elated in) the happenings.
Outcomes and Goals
The purpose of a gathering could also be the goal, or maybe there is a goal beyond the purpose. For clarity, and in case you want to read another definition, (wait a minute… you’re a writer, of course you do!) Oxford dictionary defines purpose as: “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”
And goal as: “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”
Here’s a made-up example: Maybe the purpose of holding this gathering is to celebrate a*fictional* Tomtom turning sixteen in his tribe. But the goal will be to show potential wives that he is now a man, and to prepare him for his first solo journey in to the wilderness to get his first kill.
Outcomes are also important to consider. What changes following the gathering, if anything at all? Is it a one-time gathering in your story that drastically changes the way your main character, or several characters feel, think, and perceive the world going forward? Or is this a gathering that happens regularly and the changes that take place are more subtle?
Multi-layer Gatherings
What is a multi-layer gathering? To be honest, it’s wording I recently created to understand how humans gather and how to shape the gatherings that happen in my books with more intention.
Things to consider when building a multi-layer gathering in your story:
1. The purpose: A reason for gathering. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, (do your characters all gather to cut their toenails together? Ew. But, fair enough…) as long as it’s important for your story.
2. The location: Again, it doesn’t matter the where, it just matters that the where is important for your story in some way.
3. Who is holding the gathering?
4. Who is attending the gathering and why?
5. Mantras: Words or sounds that are shared–either heard, spoken or acted on–in repetition. These things might be spoken or acted together in unison, or by one or many people and observed by the rest.
6. Goals: Is there an ultimate aim, or desire that the gathering could achieve beyond the purpose?
7. Outcomes: What changes, if anything?
An Opportunity…
We have the opportunity to make people feel that they are a part of something. We can do this (obviously in real life with the real gatherings that we plan) but as writers, we also get to do this with our book gatherings. We can look at those gatherings that happen in our stories a little more critically and with a little more intention. Surely this extra care can only add life to the books the we release out into the world.
Here’s to gathering our characters with purpose.
Podcasts referenced:
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown, The Art of Gathering Part 1, with Priya Parker
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown, How We Return and Why It Matters Part 2, with Priya Parker
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chaoschaoswriting · a day ago
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First Person Narration: Strengths and Weaknesses
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Using the first-person point of view when writing has fallen out of popularity in many ways and is often considered 'unprofessional' or 'amateurish'. This could be because it is most often employed by new writers who find it easier to tell a story in their own voice. Nonetheless, the first-person narration style is a powerful tool when deployed with skill and creativity.
First-person narration brings the reader closer to the action and can allow for unique insights that would be out of place in the second or third-person perspectives. The first-person narration style has 6 main strengths that you should consider when planning a short story or novel.
What is a First-Person Narrative?
The shortest definition of first-person narration is a story that takes place from the point of view of the main character. First-person storytelling uses 'I', 'Me', and 'We' instead of "She/He' or 'They' when speaking about the main character.
Some good examples of first-person writing include:
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
"The war tried to kill us in the spring. As grass greened the plains of Nineveh and the weather warmed, we patrolled the low-slung hills beyond the cities and towns."
The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
"I sat up high, oak branch 'tween my knees, and watched the tattooed man stride about in the snow. Pictures all over his face, no skin left no more, just ink and blood. Looking for me, he was. Always looking for me."
As you can see, each of these opens differently but effectively; first-person narration can be just as diverse, punchy, and evocative as third-person writing.
The Advantages of First-Person Narration
There are a number of benefits when it comes to first-person narration. This style of writing offers a unique perspective and an opportunity to connect the reader to your characters inner life. The unique strengths of writing in first person are:
1. Strong Character Voice
Giving your character a distinct, unique, and engaging voice is critical to any story, but it is doubly important when writing in first person. Thankfully, it is also easier to create a distinct voice for your main character when writing in first person - in first person, the narration is essentially a dialogue between your character and the reader. Read More on Vocal
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writingquestionsanswered · 10 hours ago
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Hello there, i'm confused about scene changes, like when two character is chilling at the top of mountain, cut to another group of character doing something at the time, how to indicate the change of scene?
Changing a Scene
Any time you need to switch to a new time, place, characters, or point-of-view character, it's a good idea to use either a scene break or a chapter break.
Scene breaks occur within a chapter, which is typically made up of 1 to 3 scenes. Open any fiction book on your shelf, and you'll probably find some with chapters that are broken up with asterisks or decorative symbols. Each of these symbols signals the start of a new scene. Chapter breaks, on the other hand, are the start of a whole new chapter.
Scenes within a chapter should be grouped together by something they have in common, such as taking place on the same day, or in the same time and place. Scenes can have different POV characters, but you should never switch POV characters mid-scene.
If you have two characters chilling on a mountain top and need to switch to a group of characters doing something else at the same time, consider how big of a change it is. If the only thing in common is the time, but otherwise this switch constitutes a big change in subject, I would suggest using a chapter break. However, let's say the mountaintop duo is talking about the group about to be switched to... maybe they're wondering if this group has accomplished whatever task they're supposed to be accomplishing... that would be a great time for a scene break, because although we're switching to a new group and a new POV, it's not a big change of subject. We're still on the same subject, which is whether or not the group accomplished their task.
My post Subtle Scene Transitions will help with transitioning from one scene to the next.
Good luck with your story!
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inky-duchess · a day ago
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Writer Winter Exchange
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As writers we feel we sometimes are the only person who gives their work a bit of love let it be fan art, a playlist, an edit or a gifset. So this Season of Good Will and Giving, I was wondering if you would all like to do a Secret Santa Exchange sort of thing?
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Rules
People interest should send the details to me.
Application will end 12th December and you will receive the necessary details about the WIP and the URL of your secret santa on the 12th.
I will randomly pair up urls so it's really secret so no requesting friends. If the draw is uneven, I'll chose the url left out and make a gift post for them (I will not be putting my own url in)
Post the finished "gift'' and tag your url
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If you're interested, dm me with these following details because (The more detailed the better). I will be sending this to your chosen gift giver so make it count.
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A short synopsis of your WIP
A blurb of info main characters
Your URL that you want to be @'d at, (please ensure that you'll be able to be tagged)
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howtofightwrite · 20 minutes ago
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Hi! I'm writing a short story in a fantasy universe where a character (an elf, hard to kill by human standards) is chained to a wall and then lifted up incredibly high by the unhumanly tall antagonist and let go. The back of his head hits the wall, he's (possibly?) knocked out for an undescribed period of time. Would this cause brain damage? Specifically, damage to the cerebellum? If so, how would that affect the characters?
Yes, probably.
So, with humans, getting knocked out from blunt force is some degree of brain damage. In a best case scenario, there's little (or no) detectible impairment, but we are talking about someone suffering a concussion serious enough to nearly kill them. Even in that best case scenario, getting back up afterwards would be extremely difficult and painful. In a less ideal scenario, there would also be some long term damage.
The problem is, your character isn't human, and even when we're talking about something like elves, there's a very real potential for some seriously weird physiology going on there.
Setting that aside, for a human, you're looking at all the normal symptoms of a concussion. Headaches, nausea, slurred speech, hypersensitivity to light and sound, cognitive impairment, and memory issues. I'm not 100% certain if that's damage specifically to the cerebellum (though it's certainly possible) or if those are just the greatest hits for bouncing your brain off bone.
Not everyone will experience all symptoms, not all symptoms will have equal intensity across all cases. Every concussion is a new and unique trauma.
You may notice I didn't include loss of consciousness in the list above. It's one of the more severe symptoms. Getting knocked out, especially for more than a few seconds, is a very serious medical situation. As in, "you could die, or be left a vegetable."
Now, returning to what I mentioned earlier, it's entirely possible that the elves in your setting are physiologically extremely different from humans, (at least neurologically, if not across the board.) It's entirely possible they cannot suffer concussions at all, in which case the experience of having their head bounced off paving stones may be unpleasant but not particularly dangerous. This may even be likely if your elves are supposed to be that resilient, as the head and brain, are particularly vulnerable to injury.
As for getting knocked unconscious? With humans, that is brain damage, every time. And concussions are cumulative, meaning your average protagonist who gets clubbed over the head on a weekly basis would be dead in short order.
-Starke
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aela-writes · a day ago
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Ways to get through writers block that work for me:
Write with your eyes closed. I know this sounds weird, but it has helped me more than any other strategy when getting through tough scenes in my stories. Closing your eyes allows you to visualize what you are writing about in your head, and it also blocks out your words as you type them so you don’t get hung up on perfecting every single sentence.
Play music so loud you can’t hear anything else. This helps me get out of my head and just write what feels right in the moment.
Don’t get hung up on all the description. It’s helpful to think of your first draft as a skeleton. When you’re just starting out, begin by laying out the scenes, then add more and more detail as you go through each draft. The most important step is laying out the groundwork before you try to make it look all pretty.
Finally, DON’T EDIT. There’s a reason the editing stage comes last in the writing process. It’s so hard for me to follow this piece of advice myself, but it really helps keep the flow moving. If you think of something you want to change in your story, just write down a note and keep going.
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Writing Tip#271
Dialogue in writing always serves a purpose. There is nothing more boring in fiction than exchanges between two people who are on the same wavelength. Now you can absolutely write conversations between two people who are not in conflict, but they should be talking about something important that drives the plot, and 99% of the time that will be some form of conflict.
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